2009-11-02: Stop the Press, Who's That?



Date: November 2, 2009


Hallis and her ex attempt to one-up each other, with varying results.

"Stop the Press, Who's That?"

Tabla, Upper East Side

It's been a little over a month since the shooting spree here: plenty of time for the place to recover, even the lingering gawkers have moved on to other more recent crises. Randall hasn't been here for a couple years - and that was only thanks to an occasional stealth-critic gig - which has now requested a follow-up visit for comparison, and so he's thrown on an innocuous-looking white jacket and black slacks. You can hardly spot the T-shirt unless you're looking closely.

In the centermost table of the room is a sight to behold. The who's who of the upper crust's next generation all sit, gabbing excitedly as they catch up on the latest gossip and trends. Most of them are female, but there is the gratuitous boyfriend or male cling-on scattered here and there. Sitting between Olivia Thorpe and Chelsea Allen is Hallis Van Cortlandt, all three girls are well known to the tabloids and all three are very much enjoying the attention they are receiving from other guests in the restaurant. Olivia is showing off her new engagement ring to another nameless girl at the table. Society pages have been buzzing about her recent hitch to her boyfriend of two weeks, a man known simply as Ray.

It's been a long last week at work, and so, on a rare day off, Dr. Alexandra Lambert has decided to splurge a little bit. Since her arrival in NYC, she's been involved in international engineering projects, a harrowing train rescue, been to Germany and back in a flash, and attempted to have a social life on top of it all. It's taken it's toll, clearly, and on this day off, she's made reservations for a nice dinner, alone at the upscale locale. The last hour's preparation seems to have paid off, as the tiny woman enters the restaurant in a form-fitting, low-cut black dress. Her hair is left loose, a slight natural wave to it, easily hiding her recent acquisition. The gaudiest piece of jewelry this woman has on is silver fluer-de-lis on a slender silver chain about her neck. Open-toed black heels, strap tight to her ankle in the back, complete the look, as she waits patiently to be seated as per her reservation.

Randall is just settling in at his own table, off to one side, when his attention is drawn by the noisy trio. Hey, isn't that the girl he saw the other day at the store, the one who was supposed to be a tabloid regular? It might be, especially considering how many other eyes are turning in the same general direction. Unfortunately, he doesn't spot one of their other would-be fans until he backs up and steps on Randall's foot. "Hey, watch it!" he turns and says to the curly mop, oblivious to which one of them was just doing the moving around.

Hallis is looking quite bored with the conversation. This could be due to the fact that she had been dating Ray only a month ago, before Olivia decided that leftovers would be her caviar. Every once in a while, the pair deliver tight smiles to each other that resemble grimaces, it's a wonder that they've remained friends since the age of 5. For her part, Chelsea is trying to garner Hallis' attention to regale a tale or two of her latest forays to Europe. "Oh my gawd, Chels… Europe was so last year. If you're going to be in, you have to do something awesome, like Africa, or Tibet." Hallis chimes in, interrupting the poor girl.

The Olivia turns to give Chelsea a laugh and a shake of her head, "Chels," she admonishes in a very condescending tone, "Everyone knows that Africa and Asia are the new Europe. God, you're not even cool enough to sit at the table with us. Go find a place with one of the poor people." Then she flips her caramel colored hair over her shoulder, focusing her attention on Ray.

After quite patiently waiting in the small like of 2 or 3 individuals, Alexandra is finally seated. Like Randall, she's shown to a small table with a white tablecloth, narrow, made just for two. It's along one of the walls, sharing the dim interior lighting accentuated by candles and wall sconces. After the well-dressed young man shows her to her seat (complete with pulling the chair out and helping her sit, of course!), Alex begins to peruse the menu.

Thankfully, she's a little farther from the tabloid group in the middle than Randall, but not far enough to be completely free of their rather raucous 'social commentary.' For the moment, she decides to give them the benefit of the doubt, being patient and seeing if perhaps they'll quiet down. This is the nicest dinner she's had outside of fancy-schmancy business dinners with the interational clients, and she was so looking forward to a quiet night by herself.

With a wince, Randall draws back his foot; he looks apologetic right up until the guy turns his back and heads off again, after which he mutters "yeah, fuck you too, pal" under his breath. They'll make a New Yorker of him yet. Speaking of, Olivia has just earned his instant contempt as well - considering that he's one of 'the poor people' himself, and that his last relationship hit the rocks in part because of that - but the jury on Hallis is still out.

Speaking (or thinking of) Hallis has just pushes herself away from the table and is headed toward the bar. The conversation at the table has turned to yesterday's news and one of the focuses is the picture caught outside a certain convenience store. Olivia's harsh cackle rings throughout the room, following the blonde up to the place where dreams are made… that place they keep the booze. Though she's still a bit too young, the staff hasn't carded her once, though this time the bartender pops open a bottle of Cristal and pours the girl a glass. Hallis gives him a wicked smile and points a finger toward Olivia, "Put the whole bottle on her tab, 'kay?" And then she picks up her glass in one hand and the bottle in the other.

Turning toward the crowded room, Hallis seems a little nonplussed with what she sees, but wait? There's a familiar face, even though it was just in passing, literally, she passed him on her way to the trashcan. Carrying the bottle low against her side, she makes her way to his table and sits down in the opposite chair. "Just pretend you know me," she instructs in a low voice, and then laughs. The sound is like the tinkling of crystal, and her eyes are all on him for that moment.

Hallis is not the only one ordering booze at this particular moment, not by a long shot. But as she wanders to the bar and comes away with a whole body of Cristal, like some sort of wino, Alex is selecting a fine red from the list in preparation for her dinner. Rather than the whole bottle, she takes just a glass at a time. The care the waiter shows in helping her to select a wine is greeted with a bright smile, silent nods as he explains some of the fine points of their large wine selection.

Oh yes, this is definitely the one that Randall saw the other day, only she's looking less pale now. And hey, free drinks for the night! With the slightest of nods to acknowledge her request, he then leans up and makes a point of gesturing at the nearest waiter to get their attention. "Am I playing the boyfriend of the week?" he murmurs quietly, afterward.

"Week, day, hour, minute… It all depends on how interesting you are." Hallis murmurs back, her eyes sliding to meet Olivia's every once in a while. It's not a secret that the girls at the table in the middle of the room are all curious to know who Hallis has sat down with. The way he's dressed he could be anyone, an up and coming actor maybe? The exclamation of 'Oh!' let off by Mitsy Smythe-Blakeley has the entire table huddled to listen to her theory. It's decided, Randall must be the new John Meyer or something. The entire flock turns to watch Hallis and her new conquest with very interested eyes, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by the now smirking celebutante. "I think you just upgraged to at least tonight, I'm Hallis by the way."

For the moment, Alex seems quite content to sip on the tall-stemmed glass of wine, and peruse the patrons of the restaurant. She's arrived to NYC too late to know what happened here more than a month ago, so the atmosphere is unspoiled. Occasionally she does let the Blackberry make an appearance from the tiny handbag she's brought tonight, letting the big shoulderbag-of-wonders have the night off as well.

"Randall, hi," the 'actor' replies, reaching a hand across the table and slipping it into Hallis's. He's probably going to end up in a one-column sleaze piece no matter what he does, so this at least shouldn't make it any worse. Easing into the impromptu role, he starts out with a bit of the truth: "I'm just glad to see a friendly face for once. The guys marching up and down outside my place, all 'you're what's wrong with the world today'? I can deal with it, but dammit, after a while I need a break, you know?" And a glass of that Cristal, thanks, which he'll make last for a decent while.

"Randall…" Hallis lets the name roll off her tongue, as though testing it. Then she smiles, a small smile, but it seems quite genuine. "That's a good name, I can work with it," she admits lightly. She lifts two fingers to summon some one of the wait staff over. She's gauche enough to carry the bottle to the table, but not enough to pour it into that water glass he's got. "We'll have another glass, and I think we'll have the Autumn tasting." the waiter beams and then drifts off, stopping next to Alex on his way to the kitchen. He plucks another champagne glass from the rack and glides back to the table, balancing between two fingers as he pours a half glass.

When the waiter stops by her, Alex looks up, watching him reach up to the rack to get down a glass. How can she not stare? He's got a cute butt afterall! And the way those trousers cling? It's impossible not to look! So she just sits, smiling to nobody in particular, perusing a few emails here and there on her phone (le sigh, looks like there's some work, even on her day off), but generally enjoying herself. And thankfully, even the party in the middle of the restaurant has quieted down some as well. Looks like their ring leader has splintered off, sitting with another man alone, with all the little vultures and fame-sucklers looking on in slack-jawed anticipation.

Randall nods casually to the waiter, barely taking visible notice as the glass is deposited in front of him. This will be a hell of a challenging review to write… but then they are paying for the food, and Hallis (or rather Olivia) is paying for the drinks, so who's he to complain? "Anyway, enough about me, tell me about this new diet you're on? It's definitely working for you." As well as urping into a trash can ever does, but her friends don't need to know about that.

A pair of dark eyes narrow at the sight of Randall talking to the young socialite at their table for two. A hand slides through a batch of thick curls and then Trenton is on the prowl. Trenton Hawthorne, another one of the upper crust, on again off again fling of Hallis' (currently off again) and now jealous rival to this new 'John Meyer'. Well, he'll show her. Pushing himself away from the table, he makes a circle around the large room, stopping at the bar to order a glass of Graham's, a fairly expensive port. It is those same dark eyes that meet the exposed cleavage of a certain young doctor at his side, one wearing a black dress and Fleur de Lis pendant.

"New diet?" Hallis breathes, taking another sip of her champagne, one of her eyebrows quirking in surprise to the question. "There's never a new diet. It's always the same old one. Taste everything, eat nothing." Then she gives him a rather brilliant smile, causing Chelsea, Olivia, and Mitsy to all nearly die with envy. He's got to be /someone/, Hallis wouldn't turn on the charm for just anyone, and look, she's nearly falling all over herself to get his attention!

One doesn't wear a dress like Alex's without wanting attention on those certain aspects of the female physique. But the trick is to make it seem like one doesn't want attention there; even an egghead like Alex knows that! "Ahem," she says, rather loudly after clearing her throat a bit, attempting to draw his eyes from her cleavage to her face. Of course, she expects him to have a sheepish, guilty sort of grin on his face, but while she waits, she takes the opportunity to size him up, looking him up and down. Nice suit…designer label…obvious money…but the sort of vapid pretty-boy look Alex would typically shy away from if this had been any other place in the city.

Eyeing Hallis closely as he takes in her answer, Randall makes a point of slipping the hand that isn't holding a glass of bubbly under the table and slowly forward, where for all anyone else knows he's intertwining his fingers with hers. Without saying anything further out loud, he shoots a quick sidelong glance in the direction of Trenton, then back to the pretty young thing at his own table. As if this evening weren't confusing enough already…

It takes a few minutes for the eyes to stray from Alex's bosom up to her face. When it does, she is greeted with a winning smile, one that betrays confidence and more than enough ego to fill a hot air balloon. "Pardon me," oh he's slick, the words are almost oily the way they drip from his tongue. "I couldn't help but notice you from my table over there. Care to join us?" And without waiting for an answer, Trenton slips his hand underneath Alex's and draws it upward, until her skin meets his lips in a gallant kiss.

Love triangle? Square? Definitely a square because as the scene at the bar is surveyed from the corner of Hallis' eye, she lifts her leg, right into Randall's hand. "Touchy much?" she giggles, just loud enough for Trenton to hear. Just loud enough to make the girls at the table bristle. "Tell me Randall, what do you do? Besides eat alone?"

Whoa! That's pretty much the first thing that runs through her head as the hand draws her arm to almost it's full length to plant the kiss on the back of the hand. She's on the short end, so she needs to stretch out that much. When he kisses her, she's blushing quite fiercely, trying to decide what he's all about, since this is pretty much the only time she's been swept in on quite like this. The first things out of her mouth are, perhaps unfortunately in French- "(Oh my!)" she manages to exclaim, before catching herself going back to English. "I…well…I suppose it can't hurt, no?" Of course, maybe to her detriment, she has no idea that the whole table is tabloid-fodder, and that she's being used…just used.

There are, as some wise man or other once put it, four ways to lie. You can lie, you can half-lie, you can leave things out, or you can tell the complete truth in such a way that no one will believe you. For the time being, Randall goes for two and four, in that order. "I've dabbled a lot. Music, portraits, fashion design." Stockboy at a resale shop. "Chauffeur." Cab driver. "I run a shop these days, south of Greenwich. And I look for magic."

As for the touchy-feely stuff? He doesn't answer out loud. But he doesn't let go. And there's a hint of a smile in return. He knows it's still just a game, but when the folks at the center table watch him get cozied up to like that, and stay calm about it… Well.

It is quite fortunate that Trenton just happens to be fluent in French. "Mon Dieu indeed, Cherie," he murmurs, placing his other hand at the small of Alex's back, keeping her hand quite loosely gripped in his other. He guides her back to the table and makes his introductions. "Mitsy, Olivia, Chelsea, Carter, Jack, and…. Ray." The last name is said with a little bit of disdain, after all, the man is /new/ money. Nothing like the old set he's gathered with. Apparently his father dabbled in some sort of computer thing. He turns away from the rest of the girls at the table, the nameless half dozen that aren't really important enough for him to remember. "People, I'd like you to meet… my Cherie." He says it in a strong French accent, his eyes piercing hers, the hint of a smile gracing his lips.

Half of the girls at the table give the newly arrived Alex a smile, the rest? They're still staring at the display going on across the room between Hallis and Randall. "Oh my gawd!! LOOK!" cries Mitsy, pointing at the table as they witness Hallis' calf nestled neatly into Randall's palm. All eyes at the table turn to see the spectacle, Chelsea even swoons. And Hallis?

"That sounds intriguing, Randall…" The young wannabe starlet murmurs, once again taking a sip of her champagne. Her stiletto is dropped from the foot in the air and she smiles, "Oops?" Of course it's a game, but let's see how far he'll play with her. Her eyes shift slightly to Trenton, playing Prince Charming to some… whatever she is… now to see if Randall will do the same.

Clutching her small handbag, Alex is practically lead across the restaurant. Despite the height boost from her heels, she's positively petite next to Trenton, her body managing to perhaps touch 5'6" or a hair more even in heels! When brought to the table, she smiles, sure, but forces it a little. The stares she gets from the named individuals and the randoms make her blush, but she nods when each name is said, reaching out to shake hands.

That's the way an egghead like her is used to playing things, afterall. Probably not what they're used to seeing though! "H-hullo," she begins. "Alexandra," she introduces herself. No need to drop the whole business card on them at first…they don't look like the crowd that would appreciate it anyway! Of course, standing at their table, she can't help but follow the 12 eyes glued to Hallis and Randall. Blinking a few times, she looks to Trenton…UP to Trenton. "Is she…a friend of yours?"

Randall doesn't know Trenton from Adam, and so pays him no mind whatsoever. He doesn't pay much attention to Alexandra, either; not that she doesn't make that little black dress look good and all, but y'know, the blonde is right in front of him and flirting shamelessly. That sort of thing can be a mite distracting.

Taking advantage of the no-expense-spared cloth napkins provided by the establishment, he leans down and picks up the dropped shoe with one hand, holding Hallis's leg just steady enough with the other as he slips it back into place. "You should be more careful," he teases right back at her. "You sure we don't need to get you out of here early, breath of fresh air?"

Not one of the who's who raises a hand to shake with Alex, one of the girls even grimaces and shies away when faced with the prospect of touching her hand. Olivia, though, always the hostess stands (along with Ray) and leans forward, giving the woman air kisses to each cheek. If she's a friend of Trenton's she must be someone. In answer to the scientist's question, Trenton merely glances toward the table across the room, a small smirk tugging itself to the right side of his mouth. "Who Hallis? Don't worry about her, she's just an ex." This statement has the effect of most of the table turning to pay attention to Alexandra now, some of them sporting knowing smiles.

"Oh Randall," Hallis gushes, stretching forward to touch her hand to the man's shoulder. She draws that hand down his arm, then leans back in her chair touching her index finger to her bottom lip, playfully. "I think some fresh air might be good for me after all of this champagne." Though, with years of practice under her belt, the one and a half glasses haven't really affected her much. But she can play it up with the best of them. She lowers her leg and pushes her chair back, standing up. The last half of her glass is downed in a single gulp before she rests the flute on the table. "Let's get out of here…" And then she grabs his hand, shooting a glare at Trenton.

When the air kisses come, Alex responds…well, she tries to respond in kind, but probably muffs it up by actually planting a light lip touch on Olivia's cheek. "An ex…I see. So I'm…the replacement?" Looks like she's not so naive to not realize that she's being dragged over here in an effort to show-up the blonde. And if Alex is here for that end, maybe the guy at the other table is being used the same way. For the moment though, she seems content to smile and chit-chat with the ladies, as best she can, without actually reading the tabloids or being up-to-date on the latest Hollywood news.

"It will, you look terrible." Method number one. Randall takes a second to try to fan Hallis with the napkin, which doesn't work at all, then - still pointedly ignoring Trenton and his impromptu plus-one, having made the same deduction about her role in all this - rises to his feet, offering Hallis a hand up out of her seat afterward. And, as a parting bonus to her cronies, what looks like a hand not-quite-discreetly-enough feeling up her ass. (It actually falls a good inch short. Unless she decides to slow down enough that it doesn't.)

"Replacement?" Trenton starts, almost looking offended as he eyes the prize beside him. Eyes being the operative word there, because his fall directly into her cleavage again as he talks to her. "Oh dear no," he explains, his smooth voice caressing her earlobe as he murmurs into her hair. "That would mean I'd have to keep you and I'm not planning on doing that. Think of this more as, you're lucky night." No one said that Trenton was a gentleman, he can just act like one if he needs to. Seeing Randall's hand disappear to Hallis' posterior causes the dark haired man's eye to twitch, and in turn, his hand falls to cup one of Alex's lower cheeks. With the way she's dressed tonight and the way she's been into him, she probably likes it anyway.

Hallis glare averts from Trenton to bore into Randall as she pauses in her step, and oops, his hand does meet its mark. There she freezes and narrows her eyes. "First of all, I never look terrible. Second, I NEVER look terrible." The words are like ice and she lets them sink in before she warms to him again. Then as quickly as her little episode started, it's over. Lacing her fingers with his, she breezes past the table and gives the girls a little wave, "Toodles! Randall will be taking me home tonight." The last look she gives the table is to Alex herself, her blue eyes narrowing to the woman that's stolen Trenton's affection for the night. Oh, there will be words, someday.

When Trenton's hand falls upon the curve of her butt, Alex's eyes go as big as silver dollars….except, they're deep brown. She looks very much like a deer in the headlights when Hallis walks by and gives her 'the stare.' "(Excuse me! What do you think you're doing!)" she exclaims somewhat frantically in French, her body tensing up as the palm gropes her glutes. Quite unlike Hallis, she doesn't melt into the touch….it doesn't help her serve any purpose or to make anyone jealous.

With surprising speed, the tiny woman turns on Trenton, the hand that was just a moment ago held so gently in his palm making solid skin-on-skin contact with his cheek. A somewhat gratifying SMACK! sounds through the restaurant, as she slaps his cheek and storms for the door. She's quite unsued to this sort of treatment, and she's not taking it! To add injury to insult, she leaves him with the bill from her table, as she clops out onto the sidewalk, hurrying to the curb to find a cab and go home to wash the sleaze off.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License